Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to Have a Successful Career in your Spare Time: Lesson 4

Lesson #4: Bike to Work Do you find it difficult to regularly make the time to go to the gym? No more! Add precious time to your day by getting your workout in while you commute to and from work. As a bonus, the money you save on a gym membership can be redirected toward upgrading your commuter bike. (Or, if you're special enough, Santa may surprise you one year with an extra cool commuter bike).

And time isn't the only thing you'll save. Check out these other benefits:

  • Are you tired of rising gas prices and parking rates? Find something else to complain about! Save a bundle on these and vehicle maintenance costs by saddling up. Your wallet will thank you (and so will the earth).
  • Do you hate bad drivers and traffic jams? Turn them in to a source of amusement. Have fun weaving your bike through the mess of frustrated commuters (adding to their frustration in the process). There is something magical about blasting past the chump in the Range Rover who is on the verge of a mental breakdown because he's trapped in traffic.
  • Do you ever 'accidentally' have a few to many apres-work bevvies? No problem; ride it off! And enjoy sleeping in the next day while your sucker coworkers have to get up early the next morning to take a cab to get their vehicles before they get towed.

Note: the above picture is from, one of my favorite sources for cool bike apparel and accessories. I normally feel free to 'borrow' stuff off the net, but I actually like these guys, so I feel like I should extend credit where it is due.

Monday, May 26, 2008

All You Can Eat Buffet of Bacon, Pain and Suffering

Escaping a rainy weekend in Calgary, the Bakke Bus headed North toward Stony Plain for the All You Can Eat Buffet of Bacon, Pain and Suffering mountain bike race. I was at the wheel, BikingBakke rode shotgun and Craig 'Kabush' Stappler and Shawn 'Whole Wheat' Bunnin were in the back.

Conversation spanned from bike parts, to Shawn's leader plate, to bike parts and miscellaneous bike topics, such as bike parts and Shawn's leader plate. I had nothing to contribute to any of these discussions.

We stayed at the Stony Convention Inn, which precipitated a gut busting dialogue - 'dude, this is, like, the best convention ever', etc. Then it was back to the topic of Shawn's leader plate. Our rooms had a lovely view of the train tracks, which were (unfortunately for us) well utilized through the night.

The course was a sequence of twisty singletrack woven through a forested area on a small acreage. I was impressed by how much track had been cleverly fit in to a relatively small area. Kind of like an intestine.

Erik woke up early to drive me to the race start. Pat Not Doyle and Mark were also out representing the deadgoats for the morning start, though a broken chain and fatigue got the better of them before they could finish their races.

It had rained over night, which left the course slick and slow in some areas and significantly reduced the performance of my drive train. I broke off the front near the end of the first lap, which turned out to be a bad move strategically, as I underestimated one of the other girls in my category (who caught, subsequently passed, and ultimately finished 27 seconds ahead of me). Taking bacon at the feed station was another critical (albeit tasty) error in judgement. It is for good reason that bacon-based energy foods have not made it to the mainstream.

My race was finished before the boys had even arrived to register for theirs. The course was a lot drier and I was free to spectate/support. I was proud to be a fan and supporter of some of the fastest riders out there. Erik delivered a solid performance and finished third among the expert men. Craig, Pat Doyle, and Geoff also represented the deadgoats well. Shawn was not able to keep his leader plate, but took a very respectable third. Jon showed his usual spunk (and talent) on the course, popping wheelies at the top of a hill that was a hike-a-bike for many.

It is easy to get caught up in the bubble of my professional world and it is weekends like this one that remind me that there are a lot of other cool things going on in this world. It was a fun way to spend a weekend - for cyclists and for spectators.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Homeless Man Under the 5th Street Bridge,

Thank you for your kind (albeit vulgar) remarks regarding my feminine assets. While your blend of crude language and flattery were not effective in wooing me, I commend you for your effort.

Although I did not feel compelled to respond to (or acknowledge) your initial comments, I would like to clarify one point. I realize that my short hair and flat heeled shoes might be misleading but, contrary to your openly expressed conclusion, my disinclination to respond to you was not a function of my sexual orientation.

Better luck in your future efforts to find a mate.

p.s. you may find your efforts will be more fruitful if you refrain from making comments about one's mother.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Day #10,958

The Friday before the long weekend
I had the day off
It was a beautiful day for a ride.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How to Have a Successful Career in Your Spare Time: Lesson 3

Lesson #3: Kill your television
We've established that I'm not in the running to be the next Iron Chef or Bachelorette. That's ok with me. You'd be surprised how much longer the day is when television ceases to be part of it. Anything worth watching is available on youtube anyway. And the money you save on cable can be redirected toward more interesting bikes. 
Of course, I miss a lot of pop culture references not watching tv (actually, I wouldn't say that I miss them) and don't have anybody to tell me how to dress or spend my money...but I seem to be getting by just fine without that. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Half and Half

Every hairbrained idea seems like a bright one after a glass of wine. The office challenge to run the Vancouver half marathon was no exception. It was November, and May 4 was far enough away to be open in everyone's calendar. And, with Christmas just around the corner, the immediate implications were nil. Training would start in the New Year.

Nine of us (out of a total of eleven) put up our hands. The group was comprised of three 'veterans' and six first-timers. The dollar value of the bets flying around among the first timers was impressive.

By January 1, our initial group had dropped from 9 to 8. Not bad. Our resident (honorary) Kenyan (who placed 21st in the race last year), drew up a training schedule. Several attempted to follow. Foolishly, I was not one of them.

Before we knew it, race day was upon us. Two more had dropped out, leaving six to race. Half were in good shape to race, half were not - but we all finished. Chris took an astonishing 10th place among the men with a time of 1:17 (I didn't know that was humanly possible). Then it was Nate, Janet, Travis, me, and Jill. Notable companion runners, Janice (Chris's girlfriend) and Matt (Travis's 'college buddy'), also pulled off some impressive times.

What other company can get half (46%) of its staff to race a half marathon and have them all finish? Nice work, team.